July 07, 2012

Solstice in Sitka

Because of a work trip, I spent the summer solstice in Sitka, AK (for more information about Sitka, visit this post and this post, which are both reviews of my previous travels to Sitka). The Summer Solstice is quite a big deal in all of Alaska because of the extended amount of daylight. Because of the long dawns and dusks, the actual day seems much longer than what is determined by the sunrise and sunset.  

Because of the flight schedule, we arrived in Sitka the day before our scheduled meetings. I know a couple people that live in Sitka and had made plans to meet up with both of them. 

Ryan Kauffman, owner of Aquatic Alaska Adventures, a marine transportation and tour company, also is a school grantee of the State of Alaska Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. Because he has summers off, Ryan has the opportunity to share his love of the water with visitors to Sitka. His tours are absolutely amazing...he provides a very safe ride and his knowledge of the area really allows passengers to learn about Southeast Alaska while viewing various forms of wildlife.

...Ryan and me getting on his boat, currently named Blue Dog!

Ryan took us all around the Sitka Sound and we eventually ended up at Pirates Cove, where we anchored then and rafted to a beach.

Just as we dropped anchor, we saw two grizzly/brown bears on the coast. The bears quickly scattered but not before Joy, my traveling partner, was able to snap a photo.

In the forest next to the beach, there were old fishing nets tied to the trees. These nets were huge and provided a very relaxing resting spot.
After hanging out on the nets, we went for a short hike and then rafted back to the boat. It was almost time for us to head back to land; however, we did have a few minutes to drop our lines in the water. We cruised to another area of the sound and fished for about twenty minutes....

My first catch was a very, very, very small piece of the ocean floor...

...but luckily my luck got better...

...and better.

Although the fish were all too small to keep, I had a blast catching the fish and reeling them on to the boat.

Next up...Shanna and Trevor Tadic!

Shanna actually went to college with Leah at Northwestern College. A few years older than us, the two of them did not know each other that well. Through a mutual friend, we all got to know each other very well and played softball together for three summers. Shanna moved to Sitka at the end of the school year in 2011 and had Trevor at the end of June. Her husband, Dan, took an engineer position with the city of Sitka.

It was so fun to see Shanna and Trevor. We caught up over dinner at Van Winkle and Sons.

After dinner, Joy and I headed back to the hotel, but we still felt like walking around the city. The sun was out and we wanted to take advantage of being outside on the eve of the longest day of the year.

We headed to The Larkspur Cafe for some live music. 

The two musicians were great. Joy and I spoke with them after they completed their gig and they said they were working on putting together an album with hopes for completion by the fall of 2012. 

Because we had a day of meetings planned for the next day, we headed back to the hotel and went to bed. The day was very eventful and fun...and further solidified why Sitka is one of my favorite places in Alaska.